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Reminiscing! Ultralight Photos And Stories From The Early Days.

farri

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#1
Today I was going through some old photos I took, back in mid 1980, came across these and started this thread in the hope that others might have some Ultralight photos and stories to share.

On the beach at Russell Heads...Steve Ridley with his Sky Dart and the one I built that started it all off for me...Steve was originally a Hang Glider pilot and had already gained a fair bit of experience in the Dart...I hadn`t long learnt to fly and had a grand total of ten hours in the air, in mine.... I went on to instructing and Steve eventually decided to obtain his AUF pilot Certificate, in the Drifter with me, then purchased and flew a Challenger on floats.

Steve And Me! (Large).jpg
Perry Harvey with his Wheeler Scout, at Mission beach...Perry loved nothing better than flying twenty feet above the beaches and over to Dunk Island...Perry told me this story... He was flying to Dunk, with the Scout on wheels! Half way across, he had an engine failure and being so low he was in the water before he could do anything! He was knocked unconscious and woke up on the bottom,10 meters down...Perry was an experienced diver and made it back up! It didn`t deter him! He retrieved the Scout, put it on floats and continued to fly but from then on, he always carried a pair of goggles and flippers with him...Perry passed away several years ago.

Perry Harvy & Scout..jpg
First Ultralight I ever sat in and taxied...Jack Stuart in his Jackaroo, on Jim Sabin`s strip, on the Atherton Tablelands...Jack was a member of our local club, the Far North Queensland Ultralight Association, and at that time, he owned a Grass hopper, a Wheeler Scout and the Jackaroo, years later, he purchased and flew a Quicksilver Sport 2S... Jack was a vegetable farmer who taught himself to fly from his own property,he was also a great story teller and he`d have us in fits of laughter, with the stories he`d tell, of learning to fly...Jack passed away in his eighties,several years ago.

Jack Stewart..jpg

Franco.
 

alf jessup

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#2
Today I was going through some old photos I took, back in mid 1980, came across these and started this thread in the hope that others might have some Ultralight photos and stories to share.

On the beach at Russell Heads...Steve Ridley with his Sky Dart and the one I built that started it all off for me...Steve was originally a Hang Glider pilot and had already gained a fair bit of experience in the Dart...I hadn`t long learnt to fly and had a grand total of ten hours in the air, in mine.... I went on to instructing and Steve eventually decided to obtain his AUF pilot Certificate, in the Drifter with me, then purchased and flew a Challenger on floats.

View attachment 47653
Perry Harvey with his Wheeler Scout, at Mission beach...Perry loved nothing better than flying twenty feet above the beaches and over to Dunk Island...Perry told me this story... He was flying to Dunk, with the Scout on wheels! Half way across, he had an engine failure and being so low he was in the water before he could do anything! He was knocked unconscious and woke up on the bottom,10 meters down...Perry was an experienced diver and made it back up! It didn`t deter him! He retrieved the Scout, put it on floats and continued to fly but from then on, he always carried a pair of goggles and flippers with him...Perry passed away several years ago.

View attachment 47665
First Ultralight I ever sat in and taxied...Jack Stuart in his Jackaroo, on Jim Sabin`s strip, on the Atherton Tablelands...Jack was a member of our local club, the Far North Queensland Ultralight Association, and at that time, he owned a Grass hopper, a Wheeler Scout and the Jackaroo, years later, he purchased and flew a Quicksilver Sport 2S... Jack was a vegetable farmer who taught himself to fly from his own property,he was also a great story teller and he`d have us in fits of laughter, with the stories he`d tell, of learning to fly...Jack passed away in his eighties,several years ago.

View attachment 47666

Franco.
Love your work Franco
Thanks for sharing some of your past

Alf
 

farri

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#6
Just came across a couple more old photos from the early days of the AUF!

This Ultralight was built in early 1980 by the then owner, Garry Thedore! I took the photo at Mareeba airport on a flying display, day... Garry copied the original Chinook WT2 and I copied Garry`s to build mine... Garry flew his from Jim Sabin`s, where he kept it, to our property and left it with me for three months, I had no plans to work from, just a burning drive to get mine built and learn to fly it... Except for the timing belt reduction drive, I made all the other parts by hand, with the most basic tools I had because there wasn`t money for fancy tools... I made a couple of modifications to my own ideas and having ridden motorbikes, I decided not to enclose mine...The local sail maker was supposed to make the skins for mine but at the last minute he decided he wouldn`t so I was left with a frame and nothing else, I decided I could do it and went to work with our little Husqvarna sewing machine, on our kitchen table...The second owner of this AC was Teckair, a forum member here, then, Steven Meddings followed by Tim Helybut, also a forum member here! I`m not sure where it is now, but it`s still out there, somewhere......

Chinook1..jpg
This is Chris Watling, in my Drifter! One of my best and youngest students... Chris wanted to learn to fly Ultralights and came to me with his father Nick Watling! I immediately gave Chris a challenge to be the youngest AUF Pilot Certificate holder, he took the challenge and achieved it at the ripe old age of fifteen years and nine days and to my knowledge, there hasn`t been anyone younger, to do this...Several years ago, Chris made contact with me here on the forum and at that time he was flying the big ones for QANTAS.

Dengue.jpg





This is Stan Onandia, in his Gold-Wing (pity I left some wing out) Stan told me he built most of it on his kitchen table...Stan was originally from Spain and at the time, was a Sugar Cane Farmer at Mena Creek, North Queensland and a member of the F.N.Q.U.A...Stan had an old style beach house at North Mission beach where he kept and flew the Gold-Wing...This was Stan`s first flight and he was the test pilot... Myself and his family were there to wave him off! I`ll never forget how he took out a handkerchief, waved it at us, then off he went...Stan passed away several years ago.

Goldwing (Small).jpg
Franco.
 

IBob

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#7
Wonderful!.
Regret is the biggest waste of time and energy...........yet I regret I somehow missed those years.
I look at this stuff and think 'yesssssssss..........I could have been into that!'
 

farri

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#11
gippsland promotion
Great!!!....... I did a promotion with the Drifter, on behalf of our club, the FNQUA, not long after we got it...We pulled it apart and put it together in the Cairns, Earlville shoping center, I sat in it, handed out pamphlets and answered questions, the response was very positive but for one guy who smugly looked me in the eye and said, "You`re Going To Die", and I instantly replied, "So Are You".

another image failed to load
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Hargraves

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#17
Wonderfull historic photo,s of real pioneer's in non professional oz flying and interesting to NB that us Anglo-Saxon origon aussies had a very healthy representation of colleagues from all around the world getting into it here, I just love these real pilots of the old days, who would,nt know an LCD from a credit card and recieved payments FROM the banks for having their savings with them. Dem wus de days. Cheers